Image: Tina Tiller
Image: Tina Tiller

BooksJune 2, 2023

The Unity Books bestseller chart for the week ending June 2

Image: Tina Tiller
Image: Tina Tiller

The only published and available best-selling indie book chart in New Zealand is the top 10 sales list recorded every week at Unity Books’ stores in High St, Auckland, and Willis St, Wellington.


1 Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (Chatto & Windus, $37)

Let’s get quizzical: which two books on this list are inspired by Shakespeare? (Starting off easy and will get increasingly difficult/google-reliant as we go). 

2 The Axeman’s Carnival by Catherine Chidgey (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $35)

What is the name of Chidgey’s next novel? Refer to image below for a clue.

3 There’s a Cure for This: A Memoir by Emma Espiner (Penguin NZ, $35)

What is the name of the Bookstagram account managed by the fifth year med student who recently reviewed Espiner’s memoir on this very website? 

4 The Bookbinder of Jericho by Pip Williams (Affirm Press, $38)

What are the names of the sister-twin characters who star in this latest novel from the bestselling author of The Dictionary of Lost Words? 

5 Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $38)

Aside from Jane Austen, name two further writers that influenced this third novel from the world’s youngest ever winner of the Booker Prize? (Clues here, and here). 

6 Bunny by Mona Awad (Head of Zeus, $25)

What is the name of the university in which this story of creepy and unbearable sorority culture is set?

7 The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan (Penguin, $24)

A newcomer to the weekly list, this is a novel about rural Ireland in the throes of recession told through the voices of over twenty different characters in one small community. To which famous Welsh poet is the author being compared? (Clues here).

8 Auckland: The Twentieth Century Story by Paul Moon (Oratio Books, $45)

Another new entry, reviewed over at Kete, is a history of Auckland by prolific historian Paul Moon. Name the year that the Auckland Harbour Bridge opened for public use. Bonus point: what was the date?

9 Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingslover (Faber & Faber, $28)

For which novel is Pulitzer Prize-winner (as of this year) most known for? And name two of the narrators of that story.

10 Trespasses by Louise Kennedy (Bloomsbury, $25)

What major literary prize is this novel currently shortlisted for? And what date will the winner be announced? And name one of the authors alongside Kennedy on the shortlist.

A clue for question two, above.


1 Fungi of Aotearoa: A Curious Forager’s Field Guide by Liv Sissons (Penguin, $45)

What is the name of the electric blue fungi that features on the cover of this book? And which band wrote and performed the 1987 song, Electric Blue?

2 Axeman’s Carnival by Catherine Chidgey (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $35)

What is the name Tama (one of the lead characters in this novel) short for? And how much money did this character and his author win in the recent 2023 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards? 

3 The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin (Canongate, $50)

Who is Rick Rubin? 

4 Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton (Te Herenga Waka University Press, hardback $50, paperback $38)

On which literary list did Catton recently appear, to the discomfort of some in both the UK and Aotearoa? 

5 China Tightrope: Navigating New Zealand’s Relationship with a World Superpower by Sam Sachdeva (Allen & Unwin NZ, $37)

From the cover of the book: “China presents an enormous challenge for New Zealand: It is our biggest trading partner by far, yet its leaders have no time for the democratic values that we hold dear. How we approach this challenge has huge implications across our entire economy and political system. Sam Sachdeva, the best Kiwi journalist writing about our place in the world, has done a public service with this comprehensive and lively account of New Zealand’s history with China – and the tests that lie ahead.” – Anna Fifield

For what newspaper is Anna Fifield currently the Asia-Pacific editor? 

6 There’s A Cure For This: A Memoir by Emma Espiner (Penguin, $35)

Which revered Māori thinkers does Espiner summon in this book? (Clues here)

7 Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (Transworld, $26)

Who is starring in the TV adaptation of this novel? And when is the show released?

8 Imagining Decolonisation by Rebecca Kiddle, Bianca Elkington, Moana Jackson, Ocean Ripeka Mercier, Mike Ross, Jennie Smeaton and Amanda Thomas (Bridget Williams Books, $18)

What are the titles of two chapters in this book, one of the best-selling non-fiction anthologies, ever (surely?)

9 Katherine Mansfield’s Europe: Station to Station by Redmer Yska (Otago University Press, $50)

What was the name of the institution in which Mansfield died from Tuberculosis? And in what country? And who was with her?

10 Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld (Doubleday, $37)

Which US politician did Sittenfeld fictionalise in her 2020 novel, Rodham?

Keep going!